ECONOMY

Register to be able to bargain

Labor Ministry to force unregistered unions or representatives out of collective negotiations

register-to-be-able-to-bargain

A Labor Ministry bill provides for the mandatory registration of unions of employers or employees if they wish to obtain the right of participation in collective negotiations.

Minister Kostis Hatzidakis has made it clear to Kathimerini that “the bill on the modernization of labor law will constitute an important reform, aimed at adjusting the labor market to contemporary European economic and technological conditions.”

The bill, which contains significant changes to labor legislation and adds elements of flexibility to the labor market, is ready and is expected to be put up for public consultation before its submission for voting in Parliament just after Easter (which is on May 2).

Among the significant changes it introduces are, according to sources, the creation of collection contracts for subsectors, such as for hotel electricians, the clarification of clauses for the strengthening of company-specific contracts for enterprises with serious economic problems, the expansion of the role of the Arbitration Organization (OMED) and the acceleration of judicial control.

Experts note to Kathimerini that the modernization and transparency of unions are necessary, but if qualification for collective negotiations is associated with the administrative and bureaucratic procedures – such as the obligation of unions to submit economic details in order to enter the register – there is always the risk of the exclusion of unions from the constitutionally protected right of collective negotiation.

Labor law expert Giannis Karouzos tells Kathimerini that great caution is required as to when someone can lose their capacity provided by the Constitution for collective bargaining – and therefore the signing of a collective labor contract – especially if that qualification depends on administrative or bureaucratic issues. Otherwise there may be an issue with the adherence to the Constitution.

However, Kathimerini understands that the clause to that effect which will provide the qualification for collective bargaining will depend on the inclusion of union representatives in their respective national register.